One of the biggest marketing headaches for small businesses is choosing a budget and learning how to work within it. Unlike larger enterprises, most small businesses don’t have expendable income, which is why it’s always important to choose a budget and stick to it.
An aspect of business that can sometimes be neglected from the budget is marketing. When considering the constraints of salaries, maintenance, and other outgoings, it can be all too easy to write it off as unnecessary. However, having marketing campaigns in place can be the thing missing from your business to take it to the next level.
If you think that you need to invest some serious money in marketing to reap any benefits, you are actually mistaken. There are plenty of price-conscious avenues you can go down to give your business the exposure it deserves without having to break the bank.
Looking for ideas on how to make that happen? Here are 22.
1. Friends and family
Let’s start off with something obvious: asking your friends and family to spread the word for you is a free way to get your business out there. Whether they namedrop your business in conversation or share your social media channels, leaning on those close to you can provide big rewards.
2. Guest posts
An old-school tactic of web marketing that can still be quite powerful when done right, publishing a guest post on another website can be a massive boon to your profile. Make sure you do your research, though – being involved with a spammy website isn’t going to reflect kindly on your business.
To find good guest posting opportunities you could use a tool like BuzzSumo or a simple Twitter search – keyword + guest post:
You could also use numerous search strings in Google, many of which can be found here.
3. Facebook advertising
Just published some content that you think a lot of people would be very interested to see? Running a Facebook campaign is a good way of reaching a whole new audience, especially now that Facebook’s organic reach is so minimal.
We were able to obtain 5398 post engagements for one of our clients for just $43.23. That’s 5398 likes, comments and shares for £30!
Another of our clients received 2,866 targeted page likes to his Facebook page for just $53.29, working out at $0.02 per like!
And finally 5406 page likes for another client for just $52.77, working out at $0.01 per like!
Facebook ads can produce fantastic results for very little investment.
4. Stumbleupon advertising
If you thought Facebook was cheap for advertising, just wait until you hear about the bargains available over at Stumbleupon. For those not in the know, Stumbleupon is a fantastic way of finding new content based against a reader’s interests. Roughly £1 a day is all you need to potentially find some new customers/fans.
For anyone that’s spent more time than they should procrastinating on Pinterest, infographics should be a common sight. They are a great way of conveying a dry subject in an engaging way and are easy to create; there are many generators out there to make it a doddle. Infogr.am is a popular choice for many.
6. Killer content
“If you build it, they will come”. As well as being an iconic line from a Kevin Costner movie, this should be your mantra when it comes to all things content. If you find that you’re rushing to publish content and writing a lot less than you maybe should, make time to write something that will be too good for people not to share instead.
Writing a potentially controversial article that leaves plenty of room open for debate? Including a poll is the ideal way to incentivise readers to get involved with your work and increases the chances of them sharing it within their networks. Wedgies is a free, attractive option for all with the ability to choose end dates, add your own images, and much more.
8. Memes (yes, really)
Ever noticed that a random band keep popping up in your News Feed with a funny photo or video? They know what they’re doing. By sharing humorous memes and viral images, they reach a much wider audience. Facebook give preference to pages that share images and videos over links, so it would be silly not to take advantage.
A Google search for the type of meme you would like to share will provide lots of options, you could also design your own here.
9. Video production
You might think that you need to hire a team of media professionals to help you produce videos, but that’s not necessarily true. Viewers still have a lot of time for the simplicity of someone personable in front of a camera, so creating a video -perhaps giving your opinions on a recent news story or a top 10- could give a lot back to your business.
10. Google News
Want huge amounts of traffic for no cost? Get your website listed in Google News and you should see your views skyrocket. It’s no easy task, though – follow their guidelines and there’s no guarantee you will still be accepted. Yoast’s News SEO plugin could make the difference and is quite cheap considering the added traffic it brings.
11. Business cards
In this digital age, simply handing someone a business card with your business and contact name on is just as effective as ever, especially if you think outside of the box with the design. Tie it in with the theme of your business to leave an unforgettable impression, but make sure you don’t just hand them out like flyers! Here are thirty unconventional designs for inspiration.
12. Produce a guide
Have a lot of knowledge in a niche topic? Lend that wisdom to an authoritative guide that leaves similar resources looking amateurish. To find possible competitors, Google your guide topic followed by “guide” – you will be able to pick holes in the top results and think of ways to do it better.
13. Email outreach
With the right amount of research, you can find a respected name in your industry and reach out to them with some content they might like to share. Stuck for words? There are plenty of outreach templates available, but it’s best to use them as a framework rather than as a verbatim message.
Contacting a popular name from your field and requesting an interview is the perfect way to market yourself to their audience – they’re likely to share the interview once published.
15. Competitions and giveaways
Everyone loves free stuff. Implore your readers to take part in competitions to win prizes and others will inevitably follow. Use the giveaway as “leverage” to have people sign up to your mailing list, like/follow you on the socials, or to bring traffic to your website and earn extra ad revenue.
Still a mystery to many despite its status as “the frontpage of the internet”, Reddit can be the best social marketing tool, but it can also be the most daunting. Share too much low-quality content on there and you will be quickly banned, closing the door on tonnes of traffic. Submit links in moderation and always to a relevant subreddit.
17. Offer a referral program
This can slim your profit margin a bit, but having a referral program on your website can help to gain exposure as your referrers will link to your website from their own as they will earn some money from doing so. The word-of-mouth factor comes into play here too as they’re likely to recommend it to friends, family, and associates. For small businesses, offering a relatively small rate is advised.
18. Visual quotes
Many people can relate to wise sentiments when they’re still making their way through morning coffee. Seek out famous quotes that could be easily related to your industry and apply them to high-quality images that would be hard to resist retweeting. No good with Photoshop? There are free tools out there, like Recite, that make visual quotes easy.
Many people still love listening to podcasts and they can be a hugely successful marketing tactic if done right. Invite industry leaders onto your podcast, discuss the headlines, and mention your products occasionally to drive interest. It’s cheap, too – all you need is a decent microphone and an application like Audacity to edit the audio.
20. Reply to questions from fan/customers
Anyone who’s ever spent any length of time on either Reddit or Twitter will know all about Q&A sessions from big names dominating the frontpage or trending topics. Inviting your fans to ask you questions can be a headache from a PR perspective if any contentious questions arise, but they can also help raise your profile immensely if they go smoothly.
21. Attend networking events
Old school but still a potent marketing tactic, attending networking events with your industry peers is useful to help get your name out there. Who knows what could come out of one, you could meet a new business partner or learn from the competition. There are usually free events on in your area, so be cautious when it comes to paying to become a member of a network.
22. Presentations and public appearances
Perhaps not the perfect marketing tactic for the shy, delivering knowledgeable presentations based on your industry is a tried and tested way to raise your business profile. Whether you’re just attending a college class as a special guest or even being paid to make an appearance on stage at a conference, putting yourself out there as the face of your company can be lucrative.